How To Connect Laptop To External Monitor

Connecting a laptop to a monitor is no rocket science but is easy, and also yields a lot of benefits.

If you are a working person then, setting up another monitor lets you do your work side by side, without going through the hassle of multiple tabs on a small laptop screen. 

Gamers often use this setup to live stream their games and to also enjoy them on a larger screen.

Whoever you are, the dual setup is definitely a fun feature to try. So, grab that monitor that has been lying around in your home and set up your own amazing workstation. 

This article will cover steps on how you can connect a windows laptop, as well as a Mac to the monitor. 

Before we begin, you should know that both the methods are basically a compilation of three simple steps:

  1. Finding the right cable
  2. Establishing the connection
  3. Changing the display settings 

How to connect a Windows laptop to a monitor

Step 1: The first important step is to grab a cable that can go in both the laptop and the monitor port. 

For that, you need to determine whether your laptop has an HDMI port, Display Port, VGA, or USB-C. 

Next, determine the port that your monitor has, and then find a cable that fits in both the device’s common ports. 

If you don’t find a common port, you’ll need to buy an adapter. These adapters are easy to find anywhere and are very feasible.

Step 2: Bridge together the ports via a cable or an adapter if needed, and then switch on both devices.

Step 3: On your laptop, click on the windows icon and travel to settings.  Click ‘System’ followed by ‘Display’.

Step 4: Here, you can choose whether you want to mirror the display or extend it. Mirroring the display shows the exact same screen as the laptop on the monitor. 

Extending the display will act like both your devices are one, simply meaning that you can use one keyboard and one mouse to navigate between the laptop as well as the monitor. 

Choose the option according to your need.

Step 5: If you’ve chosen to extend the displays then, you’ll see two boxes numbered ‘1’ and ‘2’, each representing the devices. 

Number ‘1’ is your laptop and Number ‘2’ is your monitor. You can drag and drop the boxes to however your devices are placed physically. For example, if your monitor is placed left to the laptop, then drag the box numbered ‘2’ to the left of the ‘1’.

This will help your mouse to travel from one screen to another with ease. After you’ve applied your changes, click ‘Apply’ to save them. Now, your setup is ready to go.

A shortcut on how you can adjust the display settings to mirror or extend is by simply pressing ‘Windows’ key and ‘P’ together. 

A pop-up menu will appear on the right allowing you to select your preference.

How to connect Mac to a Monitor

Step 1: Get the right cables for your Mac and the monitor. 

Usually, with Mac, you need an adapter like Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter, which is very common in markets. Connect the devices and switch them on.

Step 2: Once switched on, you’ll see both the devices flicker, and the monitor will display the exact same screen as that of the Mac. Make sure that Nvidialight boost is enabled. 

You now know that the connection is established, so then you’ll need to adjust the orientation. 

If your monitor is placed on the right side of the laptop, then you’ll have to set the orientation in that manner. To do that, click the apple logo on the top left of the Mac screen.

Step 3: Select ‘System Preferences’ followed by ‘Displays’. A menu will appear on both of the devices where you can change the resolutions, brightness, colors, etc. of both of them. 

Matching up these settings will provide you with a good experience working with a dual setup.

Step 4: Click on ‘Arrangement’ tab in the Display menu of your Mac. You’ll see two blue boxes with one of them having a white bar. 

The white bar indicates the host device which is your MacBook. You can drag and drop the whitebar to change the host or drag and drop the blue boxes for the devices to fit your physical setting.

Step 5: Under arrangement, you’ll see a check box labeled ‘Mirror Displays”. Uncheck it if you want your MacBook screen to extend. Skip this step if mirroring is what you want.


That were the only few simple steps you had to follow to achieve what looks like a ‘complicated connection’. 

Hopefully, this article delivered the correct information and that you were able to experience the benefits of a dual workstation. 

Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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